Climate Dynamics Group
at the University of California, Santa Cruz

The Climate Dynamics Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz is led by Professor Nicole Feldl1. We seek to understand how atmospheric circulations, ocean interactions, radiative transfer, and land surface processes control regional and global climate. Our perspective is informed by studying radiative feedbacks associated with changes in water vapor, atmospheric temperature, clouds, and snow and sea ice. These feedbacks exhibit rich spatial structure, manifest in part from episodic phenomena, and aggregate in complex ways to the global scale. By regulating the energetics of the climate system, they govern the Earth’s climate sensitivity and provoke changes in circulations and precipitation. We also focus on polar amplification, investigating the mechanisms that produce the greater warming of the high latitudes, as well as the consequences for midlatitude weather. To carry out our investigations, we use a combination of hierarchical numerical modeling, theory, and observational analyses. Our models range from simple energy balance models, to aquaplanet models with comprehensive atmospheres but devoid of continents, to the most sophisticated class of coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models. Theories addressed at understanding large-scale climate dynamics help us interpret changes in past, present, and future climates.

  1. CV